Since The Hellfire Demos announced Karl Willetts’ return to Death Metal at the helm of MEMORIAM in 2016, it’s a mere 5 years on, and we’re already looking at the band’s fourth full-length. On its own, that’s not saying much. A good many bands are as productive. Often, though, such a rigorous writing/recording regimen can cause the quality to suffer, at times.
Thankfully not so here, as ‘Onwards Into Battle’ is a true call to arms, majestic as the quartet has ever sounded, as ready for havoc, but united, in lock step with Spikey T. Smith’s rhythm engine, which doesn’t seem to have misfired since his SACRILEGE days (Turn Back Trilobite, anyone?!). ‘This War Is Won’ pushes to and past the redline just under 1 minute in, and I can see the pit-fu champions salivating, waiting for the breakdown that’s teased but never arrives. This is DEATH METAL, Daniel-san, writ large, ancient, and not to be trifled with. Frank Healy’s bass commands center stage at times, here and in other spots through the album as well.
‘Failure To Comply’ is the fiercest track on offer here, rivaling – and very likely surpassing – SEPULTURA when it had teeth and Meant Something, as the title track alternately lumbers and lunges, intent. Not to be ignored is the contribution of Scott Fairfax, still a master of solid riff construction, managing to invoke both the smoke-belching factory/Satanic mill mindset of the band’s native Birmingham (‘Mass Psychosis’), and the struggle of the proletariat against being seen as simple rank-and-file cannon fodder (‘As My Heart Grows Cold’).
In closing, To The End is proof that not only is there life left in these “old school” geezers, but a burning passion to create, to paint the world as they see it using a simple – yet vital – form of death metal. No frills, no fancy parlor tricks. This is MEMORIAM at its best thus far, and it deserves a listen, now more than ever.
Review By: Lord Randall
To The End
4.5 / 6